Ernst Cassirer’s and Benedetto Croce’s theories of language in comparison

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This contribution is dedicated to the comparison between the language theories of Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945) and Benedetto Croce (1866–1952). A both factually and idealistically important dialogue took place between these two idealistic philo­sophers of the 20th century and was ex­pressed mainly by means of criticism. The first part of this article presents the topics as well as the concrete passages of mu­tual criticism suited to illustrate certain problems in the relation of Cassirer’s and Croce’s theories in general; the second part then focuses on one of these topics, which constitutes the core of their re­spective language-philosophical and semiotic ideas: language and its relation with art, its autonomy (as Cassirer perceives) or dependency (according to Croce). Brief final remarks recapitulate the main simi­larities and differences bet­ween the language theories of both philosophers that have become apparent in our comparison and emphasize the main point effectively separating them: their radi­cally different ways of understanding idealism with respect to the relationship between spiritual activities of man and empirics.


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